Dana Ruth Baecker

August 14, 1935 – August 19, 2023

Dana was born into a Winnipeg August heatwave before air conditioning, a choice for which her mother never fully forgave her. Her early years were marked by her father’s departure for the army and war in Europe, leading to her disconcerting tendency to ask strangers in uniform if they were her father, something else her mother found hard to forgive. Though she left at 19, Dana never lost her pride and affection for her birth city and the prairies. Kelvin High School, too, remained a happy and vivid memory, especially a school production of The Mikado which introduced her to greasepaint and applause. On graduation, she took a job with the Royal Bank. Though she stayed at the Royal only a few months, that and her brief stage experience would return to determine much of her adult life. 

In 1954 she married Colin Laing, and together they moved to Great Falls (Manitoba), Calgary, Edmonton and Hamilton-Burlington, producing a child in each of those communities. Later they moved back to Calgary and in 1970 she returned to the Royal Bank where she worked until 1992. 

On retirement, like so many proud prairie people, she immediately lit out for the mellow gardens of Vancouver Island with second husband Harry Baecker, whom she had married in 1984. She and Harry built a house in beautiful Lake Cowichan, where Dana joined the Kaatza Lakeside Players and released her inner thespian, dormant since that long-ago Gilbert and Sullivan, except for a habit of singing show tunes at high volume while doing housework. Theatre was the true love of Dana’s life, and she took both acting and directing extremely seriously, winning awards and accolades over 15 years, an amateur only in name and pay scale. In later years, when asked the inevitable retiree’s question, “What did you do?” she would answer that she had been a banker and an actress. And she had.

She was a gifted and adventurous cook, but a homebody for whom travel to France and Spain and to the Alaska coast were once-in-a-lifetime adventures. Her last years were spent in Victoria, particularly at Minton House, where she became part of a precious and well-loved group of friends.

She was, of course, also a wife of two, mother and stepmother of six, grandmother of ten, sister, aunt, and friend, and will be sadly missed. Predeceased by both husbands, Dana is survived by children David Laing, Mike Laing (Sue), Jenny Laing, Lisa Marr-Laing (Tom), Mark Baecker (Brenda), and Allan Baecker, as well as brother Bob Lower (Elise Swerhone), niece Michaelin and those ten beloved grandchildren.

We wish to sincerely thank the staff of the Royal Jubilee Hospital for their extraordinary care and compassion that made Dana’s last weeks and days tolerable.

Dana will be remembered in a memorial gathering at Robert’s House at 620 Toronto Street on October 22 between 2:00-4:00pm.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Condolences Bob and Elise and the rest of the family. This is a beautifully written life story. I’m sorry we never met this interesting sister, Bob. Looks like a life very well lived. Take care

  2. I send my deepest sympathy in this time of sorrow. The Bible promises that your loved one will live again on a beautiful paradise earth when death will be no more. (John 5:28, 29; Revelation 21:4)

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